Innate immunity is the first-line of defense against invading pathogens and RNA interference is among the arsenal of hose defense mechanisms against these invading pathogens. Our research focuses on both understanding the molecular mechanisms governing RNA interference and elucidating its role in anti-viral immunity.
Rui Zhou's Research Focus
The Zhou laboratory is employing a combination of biochemical, genetic and functional genomic approaches to study the molecular mechanism governing the biogenesis of small interfering RNAs and microRNAs, core components of RNA interference (RNAi), and to elucidate the function of these small non-coding RNAs in innate immunity, the first line of defense against invading microbial pathogens.
Rui Zhou's Research Report
Higher organisms, including human beings, face challenges from both extrinsic pathogens (bacteria, fungi and viruses) and intrinsic transposons (mobile DNA elements that can jump around the genome, causing developmental defects and pre-disposition to cancer). RNAi is among the arsenal of host defense mechanisms to combat both extrinsic pathogens (viruses) and intrinsic challenges (transposons). Our laboratory is employing biochemical, genetic and functional genomic approaches to study the molecular mechanism governing RNAi.
By employing a genome-wide screening approach, we have identified >100 candidate RNAi factors in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster and determined the molecular function of several of them in small interfering RNA/microRNA biogenesis and in anti-viral immunity. We are currently studying the function of selected RNA-binding/processing factors in RNAi. In addition, we are interrogating the role of selected microRNAs as modulators of the innate immune response against bacterial and fungal infection. These studies will advance our understanding of both the molecular mechanism and biological function of RNAi, and provide insights into the evolutionarily conserved mammalian counterparts.
About Rui Zhou
Rui Zhou earned his B.Sc. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from Peking University and M.S. in Biochemistry from Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry. He then trained with Dr. Tom Maniatis at Harvard University for doctoral studies in Molecular and Cellular Biology. After postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Dr. Norbert Perrimon, Dr. Zhou was recruited to the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in 2011.
Harvard University, Ph.D. in Biochemistry, 2003
Harvard University, M.A. in Biology, 2000
Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1997
Peking University, B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1994